Putting The Customer First In Customer Experience

Daniel Bergan is Westpac’s lead on customer experience and has been at the forefront of the bank’s recent technology transformation. Despite Westpac being around for 200 years, Bergan says the company has gone through many transformations. But the pace of change has accelerated recently. At the Verint Engage conference held in Melbourne on 6-7 September, he spoke about this transformation and how it impacts customer interactions.

Bergan says the bank’s vision is the be a global leader in service delviery.

“No matter how good your technology is, it comes down to a one to one relationship with the person you are serving,” he said.

Westpac’s strategy is built on five pillars; service leadership, digital transformation, performance disciplines (the balance between short and long term delivery), growth highways, and workplace revolution.

One of the risks many businesses run is that the automation and new technologies they introduce don’t meet the needs of a broad employee and conference base that can spread across as many as five different generations.

With many jobs now being automated, Bergan noted there is a responsibility to protect people whose jobs are destroyed or changed through automation. He noted that the introduction of payment terminals at car park exits in one US state was accompanied by retraining and redeployment programs.

Bergan outlined the design principles Westpac assesses changes against.

  • Do the right thing
  • Build lifetime trust and support one interaction at a time
  • Every thing that is built has to be familiar, reliable, stable and fast
  • Relevant and meaningful experiences in the moment; it’s not about the banking product but the customer’s desired outcome
  • Easy to discover features that are intuitive and secure
  • Get every interaction right, everywhere, every time
  • Move away from transactional thinking to being part of customers’ “wow” moments

Westpac’s design process is focussed on making things people want rather than making people want things. By focussing on the outcome, he said you can avoid jumping on each new trend and deliver what customers want.

From a technology point of view, Westpac no longer thinks in terms of traditional ICT. Instead, they build Human Digital Connections (HDC). The transformation the bank has gone through has resulted in consolidating backend systems.

“We have to become one bank with multiple brands,” said Bergan.

As a result bankers (what Westpac calls all their frontline staff) have access to the data they need from one platform or technical stack.

“We have 24 engagement platforms,” he said. All these access a common set of data, rather than a series of disparate systems.

The vision of HDC is to ensure the data is consistent and contextually appropriate in all of those platforms. This is supported with external service providers such as Telstra, Verint and Avaya.

One of the big challenges is the convergence of the systems used by customers and staff. But with many internal systems being built over a number of years they have a great deal of embedded complexity. But with a strong foundation built, Bergan says they have the ability to bring legacy systems and processes up to speed.

Bergan also opted that the bank’s customer base had a massive pent up demand for digital services. Whenever a new service is enabled, it is almost instantly saturated. But there’s is still a need to provide physical services. Branches are important for communicating and advising clients when it comes to financial literacy.

Focussing too much on the immediate needs of millennials is not the best way to build customer gateways.

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